Neighbourhoods History


What's New

Press Releases

Becoming Involved




Trail Interpretation

History of the Greenway Neighbourhoods

Along much of the Greenway, the transition from rural to urban occurred well after theexcavation of the railway cutting during the First World War. Two sources help to tell the storyof the area during the period before subdivision took place, when large estates and the wealthyelite of Halifax occupied the areas along the Northwest Arm.

The Hopkins 1878 City of Halifax Atlas displays every property line and every building in thethen City of Halifax. Until 1969, the City boundary was Dutch Village Road. The Atlas shows abuilt-up core hugging the Harbour south of Young Street, east of Robie Street and north of InglisStreet. A ring of new subdivisions, as yet with very few houses, surrounded the core. North ofChebucto Road and west of Oxford Street and Tower Road were rural estates and undevelopedland.

John Regan's 1908 book "Sketches and Traditions of the Northwest Arm" describes a Greenwaylittle changed from the map of thirty years before. The Marlborough Woods subdivision was theonly attempt at introducing urban development, and it had little success.

Elsewhere, estate properties traded hands among a small number of prominent families. Theinitial grantees of Crown land in the 1780's - military and government officials recently involvedin the Revolutionary War - soon sold their holdings to the business grandees of Halifax. ThePryors, Cunards, Cogswells, Collinses, Stairs, and Morrows kept the area in their hands for all ofthe 19th century and into the 20th.

The tone of Regan's book is one of glorifying a local peerage, "Who's Who" and "Who soldwhat to whom". At the same time, he extols the virtues of increased public access to theNorthwest Arm brought about by the new aquatic clubs along its shore, such as the Waegwoltic,of which he was the first President. He is obviously trying to calm any fears that the long-timeowners and families might have about the new intruders in their midst.

The following articles (other than the Janet Chute one) extract maps and owner information from these two sources. Theydescribe the situation at the time of the construction of the Halifax Ocean Terminals Railway.

Copyright © 2011, Halifax Urban Greenway Association